Discipline means order, it means regularity. We have, all of us, to do certain duties and as we live in society. It is inevitable that we should depend on others. That is why every man must do his duty in proper time and in the proper manner.
Let us imagine a family in which everyone gets up in the morning when he likes, in which men take their food at all hours of the day, in which people go out or come back nobody knows when. In such a family there is no order, everyone will be put to inconvenience; no one will get the things he wants of if he gets them he will certainly not get them at the proper moment.
Many of us have a belief that discipline is a matter of rules imposed by an unsympathetic teacher or a cruel boss and that breaking these rules is a sign of freedom. This is a mistaken view of discipline. Discipline is a simple and obvious thing and not a matter of hard, unpleasant rules. If I have to go to a particular place, the bus that takes me to the station must come in the proper time, the station master, the ticket-collector, the driver and the guard must all be in their place, each doing his bit of work if the trains are to be kept going.
Discipline is to be observed not merely in schools, colleges and offices but in every sphere of life. In every family child should be fought to observe regularity in their conduct and to obey their superiors. Although we may believe in freedom and democracy, no organization can grow and carry on it work without somebody to give command. This habit should be cultivated from boyhood. Then only shall we be able to observe discipline in the larger sphere of life. Discipline, like charity, begins at home.
If children and subordinates have a duty, so have parents and guardians and other people who give commands. They should not retain all power in their hands. Everyone should be given some responsibility and allowed some freedom. We can have discipline only when there is cooperation. If rules are reasonable, men and children will enjoy freedom in obedience.
The importance of discipline is seen in our daily activities. Even If we go to a shop or to market, we see that there are certain rules which customers and shopkeepers alike have to obey. If everyone looks to his own convenience there will be chaos. In these days if you go to buy postcard or to a railway station to buy a ticket you will find a crowd. If everyone wants to have his object first, there will be a row and no one will get what he wants. If, instead, the crowd forms itself into queue, everyone will gain his object in his turn. This is what is called discipline.
The same rule of discipline applies to a number of passengers crowding near a bus. The rules of discipline are not meant to be superimposed. They are a matter of simple common sense. On the road in a busy city we find vehicles crowding from different directions, and there are large numbers of men and women going on foot. If everyone observes traffic rules which are very simple, there will be orderly movement. But if a man rushes along his way or a driver drives his car without considering others, then movement will be stopped and there will be no end of accidents and casualties.
Discipline means thinking of one’s own self and also thinking of others. It is a matter of habit, but all habits are rooted in character. We must realize that society is like a long chain in which we are all links. This is true of our daily life as much as of battles and governmental administration. We must all observe the rule of the road; we must think of others as much as of ourselves. Even the most selfish man has to deal with others, and he will serve his own interests best when he knows that he has to obey certain rules which are for the convenience and benefit of society as a whole.